Shalom's Cottage Home Blog

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Rock Island, IL, United States
Hi, I'm Shalom. Artist, crafter, gardener, flea market enthusiast, bargain hunter, and lover of flavor. Welcome to my journey!

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Customer is UN-Happy: What to do?

It happens. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, for an endless array of reasons, (some valid and some not) the customer is NOT pleased with their order wants you to know it!

Based on experience, here's what I recommend:

1) Calm down. Take a walk. Make dinner. Watch some TV. Whatever gets your mind OFF the problem for at least an hour. But, whatever you do, do NOT react immediately.

2) Re-evaluate. When you are ready to deal with the problem as a BUSINESS matter (and not a personal one), go back and read their comment/feedback/email several times. Make sure you understand exactly what it is they are unhappy about.

3) Think like the customer. What would YOU expect a business to do for YOU, if roles were reversed. Realize that, no matter who you feel is "right" and who is "wrong" in the situation, if the customer is disappointed with their purchase, they are entitled to their feelings. Period.

4) Think beyond the problem. Try to see how this could be a good thing for business, long-term. Have they brought up an issue that you were not aware of before and now have a chance to remedy? If so, be grateful. You may never know how many other customers did NOT voice their disappointment (but also never returned to your shop).

5) Contact the customer. Say you are very sorry to hear they were disappointed with their purchase (this does NOT necessarily mean that you are admitting blame - it just lets them know that you DO care about their feelings).

Thank them (yes, thank them!) for bringing the issue to your attention and let them know that you are going to look into it future business purposes. Think about it. Who doesn't like to feel that they are contributing to a greater good? I guarantee your thanking them for their complaint will knock them completely off guard - in a good way.

Finally, ask the customer how you can make it up to them. I like to offer free product or a replacement as the first line of defense, since it's less of a monetary hit for my business. But, if necessary I will refund. Funnily enough, I've never actually had an unhappy customer outright ask for refund - most are satisfied with free product and a few have told me it's not necessary - they just wanted me to be aware of the situation. I've even had some of these customers leave positive feedback, praising me for my "professionalism" in handling the situation.

Above all, don't allow a setback like this to get you down for too long. You may feel like a failure for a day, but realize that it will pass. It is an opportunity for growth. Nothing else.

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